Our December blog series is “Shining a Light on Main Ingredients.” In this series, we will look at 7 active/main ingredients commonly found in skincare products. As the main ingredient in our product of the month (Bella Derma Moisturizing Cleanser) is glycolic acid, we figured that’s a great place to start.
What is it?
Glycolic Acid is one of the mildest and most common types of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). AHAs are used in a variety of skin care products targeting conditions from acne to anti-aging because they can safely & gently exfoliate the skin. Glycolic acid specifically occurs naturally in a variety of plants, such as green grapes and sugar cane.
What does it do?
Glycolic acid’s main purpose is exfoliation. It gently removes the outer layer of dead skin cells, allowing the fresher, newer skin below and promoting new skin cell growth. This can make the skin appear younger & brighter. For acne patients, this exfoliation can help keep the pores from becoming clogged with dead skin cells which can lead to acne & pimples.
It works best for:
*Aging skin – it is a mild & gentle exfoliator, so it will remove the dead skin cells without being too irritating on sensitive or dry skin types
*Acne – its gentle nature can keep from aggravating existing acne (harsh exfoliators can cause irritation, making acne worse) while also keeping pores clear
*Discoloration – mild enough to use with other ingredients, glycolic acid makes a power team with hydroquinone to clear up dark spots & discoloration. The exfoliation allows the hydroquinone to more effectively target the melanocytes in the layers of new skin buried beneath
Anything to watch out for?
As is the case with most AHAs, glycolic acid can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so be sure to wear sunscreen and/or reduce your skin’s exposure to the sun.
In higher concentrations, it can be somewhat drying. Products with AHAs often include moisturizers to help with this, but following up a glycolic acid cleanser or serum with a moisturizer is recommended.